Methods of gas purification and effect on the ion composition in an RF atmospheric pressure plasma jet investigated by mass spectrometry
Institute for Experimental Physics II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, 44780, Germany
* e-mail: Achim.vonKeudell@rub.de
Accepted: 17 August 2016
Published online: 2 September 2016
The analysis of the ion chemistry of atmospheric pressure plasmas is essential to evaluate ionic reaction pathways during plasma-surface or plasma-analyte interactions. In this contribution, the ion chemistry of a radio-frequency atmospheric pressure plasma jet (μ-APPJ) operated in helium is investigated by mass spectrometry (MS). It is found, that the ion composition is extremely sensitive to impurities such as N2, O2 and H2O. Without gas purification, protonated water cluster ions of the form H+(H2O) n are dominating downstream the positive ion mass spectrum. However, even after careful feed gas purification to the sub-ppm level using a molecular sieve trap and a liquid nitrogen trap as well as operation of the plasma in a controlled atmosphere, the positive ion mass spectrum is strongly influenced by residual trace gases. The observations support the idea that species with a low ionization energy serve as a major source of electrons in atmospheric pressure helium plasmas. Similarly, the neutral density of atomic nitrogen measured by MS in a He/N2 mixture is varying up to a factor 3, demonstrating the significant influence of impurities on the neutral species chemistry as well.
Key words: Ion mass spectrometry / Atmospheric pressure plasma / Gas purification
© Große-Kreul et al., 2016
licensee Springer on behalf of EPJ. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.